• Slightly belated weeknotes this week, the first week back after Christmas, due to family issues and an emergency trip back up north. Normal service will resume soon. (Everything is okay now – this isn’t a u ok hun? omg pm me babes situation, I promise.)

  • I’ve been working with The Growth Factors recently on shaping a new product offer, which I’ve talked about before and which is now ready for its public unveiling.

    We’re calling it Renew IQ. It started with the observation that most large brands are chock to the gills with research that they’ve conducted and data that they’ve gathered over the years. Most of the time, though, they fail to learn as much as they could from that research in the first place, fail to embed what they do learn throughout the whole organisation, and then fail to revisit the research as the market changes and they learn more about what’s going on in the world.

    And so most brands will, every year, unthinkingly commission yet more new research to add to the pile – rather than sweating the assets that they’re already sitting on. This new process is designed to extract more value out of the existing research and tacit knowledge that already exists within the organisation, challenging assumptions and updating the business’s collective view of the world. Super interesting.

  • I’ve been working on the strategy and brief for an above-the-line ad campaign for a bakery brand, which has been interesting. The bakery category is a very tough place to be right now – if you’re not called Warburtons, anyway – and this campaign is all about coming back fighting after a tough few years. That means not just an opportunity to be bold, but a requirement: decline is the default, and it’ll take something great to get back into growth. That’s creatively liberating, I think.

  • I’m back on the Chinese ingredients project I was working on before Christmas. I’ve been thinking about the range architecture and how the brand should be merchandised in supermarkets in order to reinforce the positioning we defined before Christmas.

  • I had a great catchup with Milly Marsden, who I worked with at a previous job and who left to start her own amazing dungarees brand, Milldred. It was lovely to catch up, but also lovely to see the learning that comes from taking the leap and starting your own business, chucking yourself in at the deep end time and time again. Milly’s now a certified authority on everything from global garment manufacturing supply chains to third-party logistics contractors, with the scars to show for it. If you have a fashion or lifestyle brand, her brain is definitely one to pick.